I volunteered to lead a group about gratitude for young people in our local 4-H. I’m a real ideas and development person so I was super-fired up thinking of all kinds of fun ways to present the topic. I was going to rock this subject!
Then I went through a phase of thinking, wait, maybe they won’t like me (does that really matter?) and maybe I’m not cool to young people any more (who cares?). And the big one: “Who am I to teach anyone about gratefulness? What qualifies me to lead a group like this?” (Thanks, little-self-doubting-voice-in-my-head…)
Do you ever get this way? Do you second-guess your authority on a topic? Do you start to ask yourself, why would someone listen to me talk and teach about this thing I’m passionate for? My advice: Do not listen to that voice! “Proceed as if success is inevitable.”
People are always searching, for answers, for information on things in life. To them, you ARE the authority on your topic! You are needed to lead a group, have a class or present a topic on just the thing you have in your head. Yes, we can all get information off the internet these days but a group provides a level of social interaction not achieved through surfing the web. If you are passionate about something and you feel like you want to share that with someone, or multiple someones, do not let yourself hold you back. They’re waiting for you to step forward and say, I’m here.
Back to the gratitude group – in preparation for this meeting, I’ve been doing a lot of online reading about what gratitude is and how to practice it, what it means to be grateful and all the ins-n-outs of questions I thought could come up. All this research on gratefulness has had a really interesting effect on me, too. I’ve been feeling really full of good feelings: towards those around me, for life, for work, for my family, for my home. I’ve been seeing even more beauty around me.
Yale.edu defines gratitude as a state of mind that happens when you recognize a good thing in your life that comes from outside yourself.
They state that some of the befefits of gratitude include: health and satisfaction with life, better stress coping, more joy, love, enthusiasm, less envy, greed and bitterness, better alertness, determination, attentiveness and energy.
How to practice gratitude:
- Begin by PAYING ATTENTION to the good things you normally take for granted.
- WRITE about it in a journal.
- EXPRESS your gratitude to those people in your life who have helped you.
It’s a cumulative experience, practicing gratefulness. One student said, “Wow, you’re really a positive person!” I stopped to think about that. I feel I am very positive but it’s truly a result of cultivating this attitude over many, many years. It takes practice, like you would practice a musical instrument or a sport. I tend to look at the sunny side of things, the half-full glass. Since my teens, I’ve been building a “gratitude practice” in my daily life, without knowing it as such or having a label for it.
I can attest to the results. My soul feels fuller than usual and it’s being filled up with good stuff.